VOL I Issue I
India Rs 35
Is time ripe for repealing afspa in J&K? Drug Addiction: Other Facet of Kashmir Conflict Sharing agony of tremor victims
Rotational CM ‘We will abide by High Command decision”
in this issue 7 7
Is time ripe for repealing AFSPA in J&K? There is lot of talk over revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers (AFSPA) in selected parts of the insurgency infested Jammu and Kashmir State.
rotational cm 'we will abide by high command decision' Always on heels, he is Messiah for the people in his constituency. He is a leader of the masses- always at their back and call to help. Every person, whether belonging to his constituency or not, rich or poor, has easy accessibility to him.
Interlocutors defining the expectations Government action in Jammu and Kashmir for quite some time has been seeking primarily to create an internal public space to move away from the status quo. This has created a bizarre situation.
Drug addiction: other facet of kashmir conflict The de-addiction centre knows of around 500 female drug abusers and believes there are far more. Most are too ashamed to seek treatment, hiding their habit from their husbands and families.
is Lt. Paras surviving in pak jail The agony of Kailash Sharma from Rajouri district of Jammu region, whose father is a Prisoner of War (POW), is stretching too long. Pakistani army took his father captive in 1971 during Indo-Pak war.
in this issue 24 24
Promoting literacy among Muslim girls Female literacy has been a subject of concern for academicians and administrators for decades
Mahesh bhatt echoes kp's stand The Government was doing precious little to ensure that Kashmiri Pandits returned back to Kashmir with honour and dignity.
sharing agony of tremor victims If you have never experienced a disaster of this magnitude it is difficult to fully appreciate the chaos, fear and suffering that accompanies it.
'living with diabetes'
Will the real â€˜Rockstarâ€™ of Bollywood please stand up?
Experts generally claim that one does not have to die of diabetes mellitus. Yet a significant number of people are reported to be dying every year from diabetes related complications.
Government action in Jammu and Kashmir for quite some time has been seeking primarily to create an internal public space to move away from the status quo. This has created a bizarre situation.
Vol. I, Issue I
Jammu Chronicle Editor-in-chief
Executive Manager Hemlata
Paramjeet Singh Raina
Editorial Team Gaurav Deep Upasana Kaul Wasia Mashoor Jamsheed Malik Designer Naresh Thakur Marketing Head
Photographs Imran Jatinder Jamwal Legal Advisor Jagdeep Singh Bijral
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editor's note My word... In this era of information revolution when the Web and electronic news channels pose a big threat and challenge to the print media, particularly magazines, the mere thought of making yet another addition to the world of periodicals seems to be chilling. But, not thinking for a while on these niceties, we just jumped into the arena encouraged by the great words of D. H Lawrence that written words spread like oil on the piece of paper. True that some great titles in the world of magazines have lost sheen with circulation dwindling and shrinking readership in the wake of internet communication portals during the past few years but things started showing up again because of the umpteen love of generations for the written word. It may be interesting to know that India is considered to be one of the developing markets for magazines globally though the number of periodicals and journals in different languages across the country has swelled to 77,000. We are the magazine hub of the world. That print material holds a bright future in India is borne out by the fact that internet access continues to be quite low and the broadband access even lower. The dependence on print media, therefore, is a natural phenomenon. And, in a State like Jammu and Kashmir its utility is even more pronounced. Therefore, the Jammu Chronicle! Having said that, another question may rise in the minds of our esteemed readers that when already number of magazines are in the market, why a new magazine or what difference Jammu Chronicle will make from the already published ones? Our humble answer would be that Jammu Chronicle will serve as a medium of expression for young and budding writers, who will be encouraged to deliberate over the issues confronting young India. It will serve as a forum for raising questions and also finding their answers. It will encourage intellectual debate on various issues the society is confronted with . It will serve as a vehicle for disseminating the ideas of upcoming writers. It will be like spreading a fresh fragrance in the soothing literary world. We frankly admit of certain shortcomings in the first issue and hope our valued readers to ignore these just as teething problems of a new born baby. Our effort would be to make Jammu Chronicle a complete magazine for youth and elders, men and women, as it will focus on most pressing issues prevalent in the society from corruption to good governance; neglect to deprivation; education to entertainment and much more. We would be eagerly looking for your feedback and valuable suggestions to improve the content and the quality. We wish you all the best. Happy blissful Diwali Editor-in-Chief
Is time ripe for repealing AFSPA in J&K? Shveata Chandel
here is lot of talk over revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act in selected parts of the insurgency infested Jammu and Kashmir State. The votaries of revoking the Act consider it a Draconian and an oppressive measure aimed at curtaining civil liberties and putting the people to â€˜undue harassmentâ€™. Apart from secessionists, some mainstream leaders too have
made it their political plank, more for addressing to the galleries than to serve any useful purposes. They know what it will mean, as the situation is yet far from normal in the trouble torn valley. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has given strong indications of dispensing with the Disturbed Areas Act from parts of the State which portray semblance of normalcy. A high level committee of the security agencies has since been set up under
Director General of Police for recommending the areas. After meeting the Home Minister P Chidambaram in New Delhi recently, Omar Abdullah told reporters that the gradual improvement in the security scenario and restoration of peace has paved the way for revocation of AFSPA in peaceful areas of the State. He said: "We also discussed the possibility of removal of the AFSPA and the Disturbed Areas Act from certain parts of the State. I will return and October 2011
cover story have a discussion with my cabinet colleagues and officers after which we can take a decision. However, it does not mean that there will be an overnight revocation of the AFSPA or the Disturbed Areas Act from the entire state". Therefore, it is clear that the Chief Minister wants to phase out the revocation of AFSPA or lifting of DAA for obvious reasons. In no circumstances he will press for revoking the Central Act from the entire state, as the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party wants or some rights activists demand. He is not oblivious of the harsh reality that the terror regime is still active in the Valley but his political compulsions are forcing him to take this line. On such demands from the Chief Minister, PDP and separatists, the Home Minister had pushed the ball into the State Government’s court by asking it to dispense with DAA which will mean automatic revocation of the AFSPA. This silenced the State Government, read National Conference, as the junior coalition partner Congress has preferred to remain non-committal on this issue. National Conference has been craving for revocation of these measures and consequent upon their wishes the State Government had set in motion a process for removing bunkers and identifying the areas from where DAA could be lifted. While 32 CRPF bunkers were removed from the interior areas of downtown Srinagar last year, a proposal was discussed by the Unified Command, an amalgam of various security agencies and police operating in the Valley, to declare Srinagar, Ganderbal and Budgam as peaceful areas in the first instance for revoking DAA. The idea was shelved for several reasons. The army is reported to have made it clear that it will
Armed Forces Special Powers Act
According to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), in an area that is proclaimed as "disturbed", an officer of the armed forces has powers to: • "Fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death, against any person who is acting in contravention of any law" against "assembly of five or more persons" or possession of deadly weapons. • To arrest without a warrant and with the use of "necessary" force anyone who has committed certain offenses or is suspected of having done so • To enter and search any premise in order
to make such arrests. It gives Army officers legal immunity for their actions. There can be no prosecution, suit or any other legal proceeding against anyone acting under that law. For declaring an area as a 'disturbed area' there must be a grave situation of law and order on the basis of which Governor/Administrator can form opinion that an area is in such a disturbed or dangerous condition that use of Armed Forces in aid of civil power is necessary The Act has been employed in the Indian administrated state of Jammu and Kashmir since 1990.
not operate in the areas where it is not equipped with adequate powers to deal with the situation. They find provisos in AFSPA as necessary for the Army to go whole hog against insurgents, aided and abetted from Pakistan. The attempts to infiltrate are on rise. In recent weeks, several militants too have been killed in various encounters, which do not portray any rosy picture on the situation in the Valley though apparently it appears near normal. Pakistan has been vociferously denying its role in insurgency but the recent reports emanating from the US prove beyond doubt the active abetment and support from notorious spy agency of Pakistan, Inter Services Intelligence. The army too has been extending all logistic sup-
port to the perpetrators of violence. The terror camps are still intact in Pak occupied Kashmir. Trained terrorists remain stationed at their launching pads on the Line of Control to sneak into the Valley for engaging the Army and other security forces, more so to show their presence. This has recently been admitted even by the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh who said at a security related conference in the national capital that infiltration by militants into Jammu and Kashmir was continuing and warned security forces not to be complacent as crossborder camps for terrorists had been reactivated. In this backdrop, revocation of AFSPA is not an easy task particularly when the army is not on board. A senior Congress leader and the October 2011
State’s vocal Irrigation and PHE Minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din is aware of the pros and cons of the proposed decision. Therefore, he exercises caution while commenting on the proposal by saying that a decision has to be taken at several levels. He maintains that the government and the security agencies will have to reach a consensus before taking such a decision. A defence analyst feels that either the anti-terror measure should be lifted from the entire State and the army repatriated back to barracks or it should continue till the insurgency is substantially neutralized. In support of his argument, he says that lifting of AFSPA and DAA from certain areas, say Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal in Kashmir, will make these places vulnerable again. The insurgents will try to sneak into
these areas, get mixed up with the population, create safe havens by gaining time and strike as per their will in any area, only to return back safely. He says Srinagar is not completely normal as of now. Had it been, two cops would not have been shot dead at point blank range in Hazratbal and Batamaloo. However, he maintains that in case AFSPA and DAA are lifted in these three townships, militants will lie low as a ploy of their strategy. They will let the administration believe that their experiment has worked and concentrate of building arsenal. “If such a situation arises, it will be difficult to combat such elements once they strike in a big way”, he fears, adding that in such a scenario the Valley will again return back to square one. The observers feel that lifting of
AFSPA and revocation of DAA may serve as a confidence building measure but the risk it involved will be higher. These may be the apprehensions and concerns behind the Home Minister’s statement when he said the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah will have to take a decision in this regard after fully weighing its pros and cons. Though strongly advocating repealing these measures, Omar Abdullah too will find it difficult to take a conclusive decision. He knows the dangers ahead, particularly in the wake of slight spurt in terror activities. The decision will be fraught with certain risks. He will, in no case, like to become a party to something which may boomerang sometime later. October 2011
Rotational CM ‘We will abide by High Command decision’
Always on heels, he is Messiah for the people in his constituency. He is a leader of the masses- always at beck and call to help. Every person, whether belonging to his constituency or not, rich or poor, has easy accessibility to him. His biggest asset
is his connection with common man. He is always on move to see for himself that the problems of the people in his constituency are redressed on priority. That endears him to his people. Raman Bhalla or ‘Raman Da’Jammu and Kashmir Minister for
Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation in the National Conference-Congress coalition government represents the posh Gandhi Nagar Assembly Constituency in the Jammu Division. He proudly, and rightly also, introduces himself as Man of the Masses. October 2011
“I represent the common man; I have set a comprehensive role for myself to serve my people”, Raman Bhalla expressed in a chat with Executive Editor Jammu Chronicle, Shveata Chandel. He dwelt at length on his life,
political career and the mission he has chartered for himself. Development plank being fort of his political career, Bhalla addresses the social and economic aspirations of people with great sense of responsibility. He wants his constituency to
develop as a model in the State. Nevertheless, he is not oblivious of his responsibilities towards the State as a whole being a Minister. On his entry into the public life, Raman Bhalla says he was destined to join politics. “I was destined to join the politics but I did a lot of planning also. My political career started during my college days. In 1979, I led a student’s agitation; that is how I stepped into politics. While pursuing LLB in the Jammu University in 1981, I actively started taking part in student welfare; seeking redressal to their problems; agitating various issues etc, which was beginning of a new era in my life”, he says. Eventually, he got attracted to the policies and programmes of Congress with Sonia Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi becoming his role icons. He took a pledge to strengthen their hands for steering the people to progress and development. Public welfare is core of his political agenda and he wants his people to live with honour and dignity. Sensitive to the public sentiment, the first thing he did in his constituency was to rename “Geedadh Galiyaan” (the lane of Jackals) to “Sher Garh” (the den of lions). He humbly attributes his success in the hierarchical ladder in his brief political odyssey to the cooperation extended by the people. “I am overwhelmed over the trust and faith reposed in me by my people”, he says with a sense of gratitude. In 2002, he contested the elections to Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly from Gandhi Nagar Constituency and got 39,017 votes. He was a Minister of State in the PDP-Congress Government, led by Mufti Mohammed Sayeed. After his re-election in 2008, he became a Cabinet Minister. “My success is basically the success of the common man”, he says. October 2011
interview Q. What do you feel about Refu- relief but now they are getting Rs geeâ€™s issue? What steps are being 1,50,000. We are making every postaken to tackle the problem? sible effort for their uplift. So far, we have distributed around Rs 26 crores A. This is a long standing issue; to these refugees while Rs 49 crores is the successive Governments have not available under the PM Relief Fund. done much towards this sensitive hu- Even land has been allotted to some man problem. The estimated number people. Till now 11- 12 lakh kanal
of refugees in J&K is around 4,200 families. In addition, we have about 1,000 refugee families living near Bhor Camp, Gandhi Nagar, Poonch and other areas who have already been benefited. We have done a lot to solve the problems of 1965 and 1971 refugees. They were not having ownership rights earlier, which have been given to them now. We are trying our best to provide every possible help to the refugees and are working for their uplift. Q. The East Pakistan refugees are craving for their rights since over six decades; what ultimately the government plans to do for them? A. A lot has been done. Earlier, they used to get only Rs 25,000 as
land has been provided in Rajouri, Poonch and the peripheral areas. Q. The border migrants of the Jammu division too are demanding relief and cash assistance at par with Kashmiri migrants; there are court directions also in this regard; how exactly you want to deal with this situation? A. There is a special provision for these people. They are covered under security related provisos. We are providing them relief assistance as per the Government policy. As such, we have not framed any special policy for these migrants. There was a special package for Khour. Some people in Pawalan and other border areas have been re-settled.
Q. On your recommendations, the Centre has reportedly approved a renewed return package for the Kashmiri Migrants; how do you view it? A. The Government would leave no stone unturned to provide all infrastructural facilities, especially proper accommodation and security to Kashmiri Migrants (KMs) in the Valley to facilitate their secured, dignified and honourable return to their homes and hearths. We are working on it. The Government has established a township comprising 4,218 flats at a cost of Rs. 385 crores at Jagti near Nagrota. So far, 3,504 flats have been constructed and remaining would be completed soon. The Government has decided to consider non-camp migrants, living in rented accommodation, for allotment. In all, about 5,000 applications have been received. Verification process is going on and preference will be given to widows, divorcees and patients with chronic diseases. Under the Prime Ministerâ€™s Special Employment Package, the Government has created 3,000 posts in various Government Departments for unemployed educated youth. Under the first phase, 2,120 selections have been made by the Service Selection Board. Of these, 1,428 have joined their duties in the Valley. For providing accommodation to those employed, the Government has constructed 902 quarters at Baramulla, Vessu, Mattan, Hawal and Sheikhpora. The Government has identified a land at Bongund near Verinag for construction of more quarters for the Kashmiri Pandit migrant employees. As regards cash relief to KMs, the Centre has enhanced it from Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 5,000 per month per family w.e.f July 2009 and the Government has again taken up the matter with the October 2011
Centre for further enhancing it up to Rs 8,000 per month per family. The Government has approached the Centre with a proposal for making some amendments to the PMâ€™s package, which has already been sanctioned. We have proposed increasing the incentives from Rs. 7.5 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh for construction of houses in 1500 sq ft area, Rs. 4 lakh for renovation of partially damaged and dilapidated houses; payment of scholarship to children beyond class 12th; enhancement of ceiling from Rs. 5 lakh to Rs. 15 lakh for income generating units, for restoration of agriculture and orchard land, proposed to provide Rs. 15000 per kanal assistance per family etc. We are making all out efforts to implement the PMâ€™s Package for Return and Rehabilitation of KMs to the Valley. I think many Kashmiri youth are living in the transit accommodations which have been made for those returning to the Valley. These youth are presently living in such accommodations and are serving there. Later, the people who would return to the Valley and surrender their
accommodations at Jagti will be provided with the accommodation in Kashmir. We are keen on the return of the Kashmiri migrants and are working vigorously on this issue. Q. There are reports of corruption in issuing migrant ration cards to those, who are actually residing in the Valley- for instance over 500 such card holders in Budgam district- do you intend to ask for a thorough enquiry into it?
the influence of some leaders and few others. During the handing over and taking over process of the flats, a few such problems arose, like some minor defects. All of a sudden, 20,000 people shifted and started living in a new colony; obviously it will take them some time for adjustment. With the settlement of so many people, some sewerage problems have arisen. Unfortunately, some people are themselves responsible for the mess. The main holes have been stolen, which has led to problem at certain places. We are looking into this mater. Everything will be set right soon.
A. There is no such case in my knowledge. Rather, I would like to say that nothing of the sort has been reported to me. Political migrants Q. There are large scale enwere there but that is a different case. croachments of Nazool land; as We have a mechanism to tackle such also encroachments of the governproblems. ment land allegedly in connivance with the revenue staff; how would Q. The Jagti residents have been you like to deal with the situation? alleging use of sub-standard material in the building construction; A. There are unauthorized occupants who have occupied the land. your comments? In certain cases, Nazool land and its A. We will look into it. Hav- lease period has expired. Since the ing said so let me tell you that some lease has not been renewed, the land people are creating undue hype under is being treated as encroached. ThereOctober 2011
fore, the eviction proceedings would start under the Roshni Act. However, at certain places the administration has imposed higher rates for regularization of encroached land.
we succeeded in getting it. Similarly, we are sure about getting due share for the Jammu Division in every field and sphere of activity. I donâ€™t believe in disparity, we have to think for the overall development of the State Q. Is there any move to regular- which comprises the Jammu, the ize the ownership of the allottees Kashmir and the Ladakh regions. occupying evacuee property? Q. Jammu has witnessed floods A. As of now, there is no such recently. They say that the relief plan. We think there are chances that has not been adequate and survey the refugees can be given that prop- of the losses has not been conducterty. ed realistically. Your comments please? Q. You have been focusing on development but still there are alA. Floods and any such situation legations about discrimination with which arise due to natural calamities Jammu. How do you view these ap- are something which demands on prehensions? spot action as nothing is pre-decided. So, if we say that the loss estimation A. Yes, discrimination is there could be done on the same day and but we are focusing. In the past few the relief could be dispersed immediyears, Jammu has seen much devel- ately that is not possible. As we talk opment as many new projects and of floods, the main and instant objecschemes have been taken up. We are tive is to ensure temporary restoration concentrating on each and every as- of basic public utilities. Then there is pect for the all round development provision of token relief on the baof the State rather than focusing on a sis of rough estimates of loss. This single point. is followed by final assessment and We do agree that sometimes such disbursement of relief. In all such an approach is adopted which ap- situations, first of all token amount pears to be biased, but things get set- is given, then temporary restoration is tled once these are projected in right done with that amount, which is not perspective. The Central University the actual amount sanctioned or acfor Jammu is a case in point. After tual relief provided and we can say forceful projection of the demand, that in the beginning proper estima-
tion cant be done. For the Permanent Structure Plan, estimations are done later on. In the beginning, only work is done to provide temporary relief to the sufferers, as it is not possible to make all the arrangements for the permanent settlement in the beginning. Q. Kashmir is at the cross roads of history. People have been giving so many solutions on solving this problem. Nobody is asking what the people in Jammu and Ladakh have to say on this important issue. Do you think that the Kashmir centric politicians want to thrust any solution on the people of Jammu and Ladakh? A. This all comes under the domain of the Centre and they are seriously taking steps to deal with it. I would not like to comment on it. It is not only the problem of the State but it is a national problem. I think it is better not to go for unwarranted debate on this very sensitive issue. Q. As a Congressman, how do you visualize the future of Jammu and Kashmir? A. I am always keen and focused over the development of Jammu and Kashmir. We are making every effort. It is due to the vision of the Congress October 2011
interview that the people of Kashmir are able to get the railway facility. So much of development, Central Universities, colleges, education is touching new horizons. Much development has taken place on the health services front. Jammu and Kashmir has a great future as the Centre is keen for the progress of this region. Q. How would you spell out your contribution in your constituency as a MLA and what are your plans as a Minister for the state? A. I am trying my best but still there are so many things which require attention. It is not that we have achieved all our targets and that the required improvements have taken place but for sure we have done a lot in many spheres for the uplift of the people. If we talk of my constituency, it comprises two lakh people; we have raised the number of the government higher secondary schools; earlier there were only two Government school for such a vast population...As per the records, the education level in the constituency was very poor. Now the figures are encouraging. If not much, there is a slight improvement in the education graph. My dream is to bring the education at the door steps of people. Though my constituency comprises posh area but there are many slum areas as well. For the poor people, Government schools are the only schools where they could send their wards. As there were only two schools, the students had to spend lot to time and money on travelling, which was not affordable? But as the numbers of the schools have now increased, the education is not a far away dream for the slum dwellers. I just made a small effort by increasing the number of schools and the results are quite good.
Q. What more about your develQ. Any message for the Jamopment initiatives? muites? A. My main stress has been on providing the people of my area with each and every facility. I have tried to provide the basic facilities to them. Road networking was a major issue and I tried to improve it by getting the widening of the roads at many places. During my tenure as MLA, Rs 14 crores were spent on the Gandhi Nagar Hospital for its improvement; a separate department of ophthalmology was introduced at a cost of Rs 80 lakhs. The leprosy hospital in Gangyal has also been upgraded to a 40 bed hospital, named as â€œRajeev Gandhi Hospitalâ€?. Q. Would you like to say anything on power-sharing formula between National Conference and Congress; I mean about the rotational Chief Minister issue? A. The decision lies with the High Command. As a disciplined and dedicated party worker, I abide by the party decisions. Let us not complicate the issues and create unnecessary controversies.
A. I would say that Jammu and Kashmir is progressing on a very fast note. I wish the State to prosper and progress. My good wishes are always with the people of Jammu and Kashmir in general and those in Jammu in particular. We should strive for having all the requisite facilities in this region. The need of the time is to promote secularism and communal harmony. Our State is still in the developing phase and we have to go a long way. There are many aspects where improvement is required. The foremost is the education sector, which needs a lot of improvement. Road networking and connectivity also needs some upgrading. We have to develop the slum areas, which deface the city. Beginning has been done in this regard. We are trying to make this area a slum free and dust free zone; in all this, we need support from the people. We are doing every possible effort to improve and develop Jammu. Development showcases the progress of a region and it is an initiative for the public welfare. Development is not possible without the public co operation, so we need that the people should co-operate for the overall development of this region and the State.
Interlocutors- defining the expectations Dr Ajay Chrungoo
here is an erroneous belief in the common citizen that the Interlocutors were appointed as a critical interface with the people in Jammu and Kashmir to douse the fires caused by a protracted stone pelting â€˜Intifadaâ€™ raging in Kashmir valley at that time. It is true that the new Interlocutors were appointed after the visit of the All Party Delegation to the State when the India Ragdo campaign was in full swing in the Valley. But it is doubtful that they were employed as a contingency plan to bring the State out of the mire of civil unrest. Evidence in the public realm suggests that the Interlocutors were appointed as a next logical step after the three Round Table Conferences and Working Group meetings on Jammu and Kashmir failed to create the desired political space for what the Government of India wanted to do. The Government of India had taken a public position, well before the surfacing of the so called nonviolent separatist unrest in Kashmir valley and the appointment of three Interlocutors, that the political solution for the turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir had been almost finalized. Civil unrest in Kashmir had created the thrust for the appointment of Interlocutors with the expectation that they will take the process ahead from the point where Justice Sagir had left it. In fact civil unrest in Kashmir was crafted with this as one of its objec-
tives. To accommodate the separatists, the Government of India has to move away from the present status quo. This is how the entire machinery of
have shifted from making separatists to abandon separatism. And this shift had taken place well before the stone pelting campaign in the Valley started. Government action in Jammu Kashmir for quite some time has Government action in and been seeking primarily to create an Jammu and Kashmir for internal public space to move away quite some time has been from the status quo. This has created a bizarre situation. All leverages- deseeking primarily to create mographic, political, legal and hisan internal public space to torical- which the Government of Inhas in the State, have become part move away from the status dia of the problem rather than part of the quo. This has created a solutions it can deploy on the ground. And all insults to the sovereignty embizarre situation. anating from the separatist echelons separatism in the Valley thinks. The and mainstream political establishobjective of the Government action ment have assumed the respectability in Jammu and Kashmir seems to of measures aimed at a solution. October 2011
National Conference articulated the perception shared by the separatist gentry across the factional divides that appointment of Justice Sagir as the Chairman of the Working Group on Centre- State Relations was not a prudent step. They wanted a Hindu like â€œJustice Saccharâ€™â€? to deal with the issue of a political solution for the Kashmir problem and declared it so publicly. The civil unrest in the Kashmir Valley had a definite connection with the visit of the US President Barrack Obama to India. But one thing which has been overlooked is the catalytic pressures which the statement of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh generated on the separatist mind just towards the fag end of the parliamentary elections. The Prime Minister surprised many by confirming publicly that a final settlement on Jammu and Kashmir had almost been reached and the same had got derailed due to the dethronement of Pervez
Musharraf in Pakistan. For the separatist, the agenda for action was getting clearly defined. Exert pressures from inside to set the process, which had stopped due to change of regime in Pakistan, into motion once again. The choice of new Interlocutors was defined by the separatist needs and not by the contingency of the times. At least two of the Interlocutors had a very clear cut stated position on the turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir which had always been music to the ears of various strands of separatists operating in the Valley. Their stated position was not fundamentally in conflict with the official positions of Pakistan as well as USA. The choice of the Interlocutors was better than the wish list the separatist might have had in mind and certainly must have pleased even Dr Farooq Abdullah, who wanted some amenable eminent Hindu of the type of Justice Sachhar to deal with the issue of
redefining the relation of Jammu and Kashmir with the Union of India. Government of India declared that there were no red lines fixed for the Interlocutors. The approach had a fundamental implication of creating a government sanctioned process, which is still continuing, which can operate beyond the boundaries of recognized national interests and constraints of sovereignty. So the Interlocutors operated in an environment of a political sanction to explore with a freedom which no government appointed Interlocutor had anywhere and anytime in the country. The rationale put forward by some that this had merely a tactical value to create an atmosphere of engagement with the separatists has by now been exposed to its core. Even as the interlocutors sued for peace with separatists on behalf of Government of India, the separatists only stiffened their October 2011
Jammu Chronicle stance and refused to talk to them. Interlocutors knocked at the door of separatists not in the literal sense but physically. Every public expression or gesture which they employed was aimed solely to appease the separatist sentiment. As they did so, they maintained the aura of a ruler while dealing with the rest of the diversity of the State. Most of the delegations, other than the separatists, had to seek an appointment to meet the Interlocutors. Most of them had to perform within the time limitations of the Interlocutors. Interlocutors saw to it that they keep all such voices out of the engagement process who had posed fundamental questions during the Round Table Conferences and Working Group meetings about separatism, causes which sustain it and the responses of the Governments at the helms from time to time. Through conducting seminars and conferences in Kashmir, Jammu and Delhi, the Interlocutors made a brazen show of their preferences. The conference conducted in Jammu had most of the representatives who did not represent the views of Jammu. Even the sole Congress leader from Jammu was stopped half way. The scope of what the Interlocutors have recommended will be essentially determined by what the Government of India has already decided. The contours of the Government policy to devise a solution on Jammu and Kashmir have been stated by the Government, one way or the other, from time to time. The Government of India has stated that it holds the view that India has a shared destiny with Pakistan; that terrorism and peace process cannot be linked; that borders can be made irrelevant. The stated postulates of the Gov-
ernment policy have opened the doors for an arrangement where sovereignty of the nation over the whole State or a part of it can be shared with Pakistan. There are areas about which there seems to be a finality that the
treat the genocide and internal displacement of Kashmiri Hindus more than an economic, developmental and administrative issue. In the political environment and the constraints of the Government
Government of India declared that there were no red lines fixed for the Interlocutors. The approach had a fundamental implication of creating a government sanctioned process, which is still continuing, which can operate beyond the boundaries of recognised national interests and constraints of sovereignty. Interlocutors will not trespass. Interlocutors will not re-examine the rationale of the special status for Jammu and Kashmir. They will not examine the contradiction of the special status for the State with the secular nation building in India: they will not examine the growth of Muslim identity politics in the State and its relation to armed separatism; they will not examine the implications of a republic within the republic and they will not
policy on Jammu and Kashmir, if Interlocutors, in their final report, havenâ€™t conferred legitimacy to the separatist perspective that accession was conditional; if they havenâ€™t suggested the division of Jammu along its demographic contours under one pretext or the other and if they havenâ€™t recommended making the article 370 as a permanent provision of Indian constitution, then we should feel a little relieved. October 2011
Other facet of Kashmir conflict
amida first smoked opium to dull the nightmares after her husband's violent death. He was shot at his home in front of her at Kakapura village in Anantnag district, leaving her a widow at the age of 25 with three young children and a joyless future to look forward to. "I don't know who fired the shot," she said, adding: "But I couldn't stop playing back my memories of him bleeding to death in the yard and nobody to help." In the twilight half-life of a Kashmiri widow there was little distraction until a neighbour introduced her to a brown paste. Soon she needed to smoke opium in the morning, at lunchtime and at night. "It gives me comfort and helps me forget my sorrows," she said. "It is a shameful thing. If my brother-inlaw found out he would throw me out of his house." India is considered among the world's largest producers of legal opium for medicinal purposes and poppies are grown legally throughout the country, including in Kashmir. Southern Kashmir, an area where illegal poppy fields are common, has seen a high number of radical rebels ever since an armed insurgency began in 1989. Pic by Writer Until a few days ago, Hamida who According to the J&K Drug Delike many Kashmiris uses only one twice a day to combat depression. name, slipped opium in her tea, "It was," Hamida said, "more im- addiction Centre (DDA), Srinagar, portant than food. Kashmir produces about 30 per October 2011
Jammu Chronicle cent of the Indian opium. The money typically benefits local warlords, and corrupt government officials. The J&K DDA statistics also indicate the amount of opium cultivated, showing gradual increase every year since 1989, the conflict era. It's now estimated 80,000 people out of four million population is addicted to narcotics, yet there are only few treatment and rehabilitation facilities throughout the valley. “Among those seeking help, the number of addicted women is increasing every day," said Yasir Ahmed, who works with the DDA Centre at Srinagar. Though the exact number of female drug users in Kashmir is not known, unofficial statistics estimate that the figure is close to 1,000. Yasir Ahmed maintains that many more women were addicted to tranquillizers and hashish, but they were unaccounted for or did not want to be treated for drug addiction. “We have 10-20 women addicts on the streets of Srinagar. Only three of them are from the proper city, while the rest are from south Kashmir,” he says. Yasir disclosed that a reasonable number of women, displaced due to militancy and the conflict, have also started using hashish and opiates due to their difficult circumstances. Additionally, some women from poor families have turned to drugs due to presence of a male addict in the family. But the poor are not the only ones going for drugs. He says: “A few women hailing from welloff families and holding important positions in various organisations were also using tranquillizers, and opiates. The use of hashish and opiates at the girls’ hostels in the University of Kashmir is also on the rise, says Yasir”. “A number of female students are addicted to these harmful drugs, but
the hostel and university administrations deny the fact and don’t allow access to NGOs working for treatment and rehabilitation of drug users,” he said. He reveals that several of the patients are college and university students. “A number of the patients are female students belonging to middle and upper class families. They have fallen prey to smoking hashish and heroin,” he says. Often the girls come to the Centre
The de-addiction centre knows of around 500 female drug abusers and believes there are far more. Most are too ashamed to seek treatment, hiding their habit from their husbands and families. with their male and female classmates and request privacy. A medical student, on condition of anonymity, confessed that she used to smoke hashish to overcome stress during examinations. “It increased my stamina and concentration during my preparations for the exams,” she argued, trying to justify the use of hashish. According to Yasir, this excuse is a myth: “Using hashish or other drugs affects your nerves and you tend to react to things slower than usual,” he explains. Opium has been widely used as a medicine here. Traditionally, the dry opium was considered an astringent, and was also used as a sedative. Even the husks of the poppy
are boiled to make a tea to soothe crying children. Taking opiates is Haram, or forbidden, in Islam. Nayeema is 35 years old. She has been married for 20 years, and she has taken drugs ever since: First bidi and cigarettes, later opium and heroin. She started with smoking and later turned to injecting, until all her veins dried up. “I started smoking a year after my wedding. My sister-in law gave it to me,” says Nayeema. “First I refused, but she forced me to smoke opium and cigarettes." Nayeema is from Sangham of Awantipura southern Kashmir, where the climate is harsh and many people live in mud homes, including her. Because of the cold and humidity, many are suffering from urinary tract infections, cold and flu. But especially for women it is difficult to get medicines, which is why many suppress illnesses, pain and also their daily hunger with opium. "When I smoked for the first time it made me feel numb,” says Nayeema. “I didn't feel my problems any more and was completely calm. When we only had lunch and nothing to eat for dinner, we didn't mind because we smoked and didn't feel the hunger. All our problems were gone." Problems which are manifold especially for women. Like Nayeema, many are victims of domestic violence, mainly by their husbands and in-laws. Kashmiri women are particularly at risk. The de-addiction centre knows of around 500 female drug abusers and believes there are far more. Most are too ashamed to seek treatment, hiding their habit from their husbands and families. Nearly all have harrowing stories of loss from the conflict. Most are widows; some are first wives who have suffered the humiliation of their husband taking October 2011
Jammu Chronicle a second bride. Babies are being born addicted and children working in the carpet trade are allegedly fed opium to numb them through long hours of work; they too become addicts. While opium and sleeping pills are still the commonest drugs abused here, young women are increasingly turning to heroin. In a centre I visited in the Srinagar city, a roomful of women in stained burkas were receiving treatment for addiction. One had become hooked on opium after using it to numb her fear so she could sleep during the protest demonstrations in the Kashmir province, another turned to tranquillisers after her husband and son were killed by the security forces. Treatment does not always work. A 60-year-old grandmother picked up a heroin habit from a friend she made in the centre ward where she was seeking treatment for her opium addiction. Doctors say Nayeema and Hamida aren't the only ones. Tens of thousands of Kashmiri women, who developed psychiatric disorders, fear psychosis, depression, stress and suicidal tendencies during the twodecade-long turmoil, have taken to anti-depressants, painkillers and tranquillizers that are easily available over the counter. Most are addicted to drugs ranging from medicinal opiates (opium-based drugs) to
cannabis, even heroin and cocaine. Psychiatrist Mushtaq Margoob, author of 'Menace of Drug Abuse in Kashmir', says that 1.5 per cent of the women in Kashmir are addicted to opiates alone – the highest anywhere in the world. "Thousands of them are also addicted to contraband,'' he says, adding that 4 per cent of the women patients he
to relieve the symptoms,'' he says. In rural areas, elderly women are often seen to induce younger ones to smoke a hookah "to cope with bereavement". "With the easy availability of cannabis, these women often get hooked,'' he says. The State's Health Minister, Sham Lal Sharma, says there is realization of the need to "check the
There is realisation of the need to ‘check the menace of psychotropic drugs’. The Government is formulating a drug policy Sham Lal Sharma Health Minister
comes across take to drugs simply to overcome depression.”It's a double-edged sword: they become addicts and the depression too lingers on.'' It's part of a pattern, says Dr. Ghulam Nabi Wani, who has run a de-addiction centre in the Valley. "It's generally those who have lost dear ones or seen violent deaths who become insomniac and later, start taking sedatives in order to sleep.'' Margoob says. He has also come across women using cocaine, a habit that costs them about Rs 20002500 a day. "Women get hooked to drugs, particularly opiates because these are easily available and used
menace of psychotropic drugs''. He says the Government is formulating a drug policy. Margoob says the poor implementation of licensing laws for the sale of psychotropic drugs compounds the problem. "An assessment of the prescribing practice in anxiety disorder in Kashmir reveals that the majority of such patients could have been helped through counseling and psychotherapy rather than drugs.'' Wani agrees that non-implementation of the Drug Act is aggravating the problem. "If it is implemented, addiction can come down by 50 per cent," he says.
Is Lt. Paras surviving in Pak Jail? The agony of Kailash Sharma from Rajouri district of Jammu region whose father is a Prisoner of War (POW) is stretching too long. Pakistani army took his father captive in 1971 during Indo-Pak war. Jamsheed Malik
Pic: by Writer
t is almost a four decade wait for a son to see his father, languishing in a Pakistani jail as a prisoner of war. It is saga of a father and a story of an Indian soldier who has been deprived of liberty by the enemy who managed dignified return of their over a lakh humiliated soldiers, taken as prisoners in India, after West Pakistan debacle in 1971. The agony of Kailash Sharma from Rajouri district of Jammu region whose father is a Prisoner of War (POW) is stretching too long. Pakistani army took his father captive in 1971 during Indo-Pak war. His father, Lieutenant Paras Ram Sharma, then just 21, fought valiantly with the Pakistani army in Chhamb-Jourian sector in Jammu before he fell into the hands of Pakistani soldiers after receiving a bullet injury on his leg on December 6, 1971. “I have received a bullet injury after which I am undergoing treatment in a Government hospital in Karachi” were the last words from a young officer to his family in Jammu on December 10, 1971, on Pakistan radio. Kailash was just one month old when his father became a prisoner of war (POW). “My mother, Usha Sharma, used to tell me about my father as I have never seen him. I know him only through some phoOctober 2011
Jammu Chronicle tographs that my mother gave me”, says Kailash. Cancer took the life of Usha in 2002. “After a long treatment at New Delhi, my mother died eight years back. Most of the savings were exhausted in her treatment with no help from the Government or the Army” says Kailash. Kailash along with his wife now lives at the house of his maternal grandparents in Rajouri. His father lived in the border town of Ranbirsingh Pura in Jammu but after he became a POW, Usha shifted to her parent home in Rajouri. Although the Government declared Lt. Paras Ram dead but a local Rajouri Muslim youth, during his visit to Pakistan two years ago, found him alive in a jail in Bal-
uchistan. Kailash claims that the man told his family that he had met Paras Ram who was in a very bad condition in that jail. When Kailash asked the Muslim man (name withheld as it may be a threat to his family in Pakistan) to tell about his father to the Government, he declined, saying his maternal uncle lives in Pakistan and if he opens his mouth his uncle would be eliminated. The Muslim man, whose revelation could cause threat to his family in Pakistan, told Kailash that some of the 54 POWs that were captured from Chhamb-Jourian sector by the Pakistani army were living with Paras Ram in the same jail. “My father is a helpless victim of the Indian Government that has
failed to secure release of the soldier who fought for the motherland” rues Kailash. Other 54 soldiers were taken POW from Chhamb-Jourian sector along with Paras Ram and their voices too were for the last time heard on December 10, 1971 on radio. A 14-member delegation of the relatives of POWs sought a meeting with the former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf in 2007 when they visited Pakistan. The delegation visited 10 jails in Pakistan but found none of the POWs in those jails. The families of the POWs of 1971 war are fighting for their return. However, Pakistan has always denied saying that there were no POWs in its confinement.
Female literacy has been a subject of concern for academicians and administrators for decades
Promoting literacy among Muslim girls Shveata Chandel
emale literacy has been a subject of concern for academicians and administrators ever since India attained independence. Notwithstanding many strides taken in spreading education in the length and breadth of the country, yet some
segments could not benefit to the desired level. They include a sizable population among Muslims. Widespread poverty, deep-rooted patriarchal attitudes and lack of awareness are some of the contributory factors that have had an adverse impact over the education of the Muslim women.
Therefore, concerted efforts were made to achieve total literacy among the left-over segments of the people. As a result, education among Muslim women is fast improving. In the recent past, many surveys have revealed that there is distinctly visible enthusiasm among Muslim families to educate their daughters. October 2011
A significant motivation in this regard has been the increased number of the Madrasas in the hilly terrain of the State, especially in the far flung areas. Madrassa for the Muslim girls is not a new concept, as it dates back to the colonial times but the new addition is the separate higher level Ma-
drassas for girls, distinct from those set up in mosques. Recent years have witnessed setting up of several such Madrassas by various religious and social organisations in different parts of the State. In one such initiative, Sayeed Taseleem Hassan Bhukhari, started Dar Ul Uloom Ghulshan-e- Madina, a Mad-
arssa for girls, in 2004. She got ready support and encouragement from the former Chief Ministerâ€™s of Jammu and Kashmir, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Dr Farooq Abdullah. The donations and the encouragement firmed u the resolve of Tasleem to realize her dream. She had been yearning to do something for the October 2011
Education watch society and for social cause. Hailing from Delhi and married to a Maulim family in Jammu, she converted her dream into reality with her steadfast approach, determination and dedication. Tasleem started the Madrassa with just 30 students. The roll has now swelled to 200. For the convenience of the girls from far off areas, she has created adequate hostel facility for about 150 girls. They come from different part s of Jammu and also from Punjab. “At the onset, the strength of the students in the school was less. But, I visited many areas in Jammu and its outskirts, especially the interior villages, to enlighten the people about female literacy and told them about the positive aspects of education. After hard efforts, many villagers came forward and admitted their daughters in this Maderssa. We have girls from Kishtwar, Bhaderwah, Doda and many far flung areas. The girls who studied here motivated the people back in their homes which served as a strong motivational factor. The rolls kept swelling and now we have 200 girl students in the Madrassa”, she says Imparting Islamic education along with modern subjects to varying degrees, these schools are playing a major role in promoting literacy among Muslim girls. The Madrassa has a strict time schedule; from 7 AM to 10:30 AM, the inmates are imparted Islamic education; then onwards up to 3:30 PM, other subjects of the curriculum in the general education are taught. “We have nine teachers for imparting Islamic education and five for the general line studies. The school, being run in the Madrassa, is registered with the Government up to the primary level”, she adds. The Madrassa provides general education till fifth grade by following
the government-prescribed syllabus, along with basic Islamic studies. For higher Islamic studies, it offers a sixyear Alima course (equivalent to BA in Islamic Studies). Alimas can go on to do a two year Fazila course (which is equivalent to MA), which consists of various standard traditional Islamic subjects along with Islamic history and English. Tasleem adds, “These Madrasas are financed through the funds raised from Zakat. Zakat means the amount of money that every adult, mentally stable, free and financially able Muslim, male and female, has to pay to support specific categories. We also get a part of Zakat, like other similar institutions, which is being spent on
books, clothing and meeting various other expenses for running the Madrassa. Some philanthropic people donate a specific portion of their salary to the Madrassa”, she says. “We have 150 students in the hostel; we provide them free of cost education, boarding and lodging, medical facilities, books etc”, she adds. “I am happy to do something for the society. This is not possible without my family support. My husband and two sons support me in my work. I want more such initiatives to be taken so that the Muslim girls, who are living an underprivileged life, could get a chance to study and make a mark in society by their contribution”, she adds. October 2011
An impoverished brave heart I t is a glaring example of selective amnesia on the part of the State Government and the society that while Ruksana Kouser who killed a dreaded ultra, received all the honours and appreciation, including the prestigious Kirti Chakra a n d Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak, Sunita Devi a resident of Rajouri was consigned a life of oblivion and impoverishment for a similar act. No one knows about the brave heart, Sunita who resisted six Hizbul- Mujahideen terrorists, armed with sophisticated AK weap-
ons, in the gunfight that followed when they entered her house. Her father was, however, shot dead. On June 17, 2000, a group of ultras entered into the house of Sunita at midnight in Kote Kabu village of Kalakot area in Rajouri district, looking for her brother Rakesh Singh who was deployed in the 41st battalion of the Border Security Force (BSF). When the ultras did not locate Rakesh at home, they tried to kidnap Sunita. Seeing his daughter in trouble, Thakur Baldev Singh resisted barehanded. This prompted the armed mercenaries to open fire, killing him on the spot. “My father received 10 bullets on his body. He was bleeding profusely while lying on the floor. Before I could realise, he succumbed to his injuries,” Sunita said and added that she rushed inside the first floor of the house and took a .303 gun of her father and started firing on the terrorists from the window. “I fired 11 rounds of bullets on them (ultras). One of them received a bullet injury on his chest and died on the spot. This made the other five militants run away,” she said. Sunita said that soon the police and village defence committee members reached the spot. Sunita is a Bachelor of Arts and has also done B.Ed from the University of Jammu. While Rukhsana has been awarded with a permanent job with J& K Police for her act of bravery, Sunita has not received any such honours. This is despite the fact that the State Home Department had recommended her for the post of Assistant Sub Inspector in the Police. October 2011
Her past is tense, present imperfect and future indefinite Jamsheed Malik
ubia Kouser, is a known face in Rajouri. Her fate has forced her to migrate from her original home and live a life of fear and seclusion. Rubia had no complaints and regrets against anyone. But the life she is living will perhaps led her nowhere. She shot to limelight when a Lashker-e-Toiba terrorist abducted her and married her forcibly. Ghosts of her past have not stopped haunting her in her present. It was a normal autumn break in 2005 for Rubia who was a class IV student and dreamt of making it big one day so that she could turn the sagging fortunes of her family. But her tender dreams soured when she was kidnapped by a group of eight LeT militants. When 13 years old, Rubia was forcibly married to one of the ultras who had kidnapped her. She had to trek difficult terrain when the militants, who shifted the hideout thrice in the first three weeks moved from one area to another. Rubia used to cook food for the ultras in their hideouts. “They regularly shifted their hideouts due to the threat of security forces. My family had also registered a complaint due to which army was trying to locate me in dense forest areas where they had kept me” she said. “My husband (LeT terrorist) rarely moved out. Whenever he went, he used to ask one of his associates to keep an eye over me,” she said. “The terrorists told me that I would be sent to Pakistan for arms training so that I could be inducted into the woman wing of the LeT,”
she claimed. “Two months after I was kidnapped, my husband went out leaving me alone in a hideout in the upper reaches of the Pir-Panchal range. I ran away from there as nobody was keeping a watch. I managed to reach my home in Bakori village and narrated the whole story to my family,” Rubia said. Her family rushed to the nearby police station. Senior officers were informed who ordered the deployment of a personal security officer for Rubia. “A week after I escaped from the militant hideout, I came to know that the man who kidnapped me was arrested from the forest area by the security forces. I thought it was the end of my travails,” she said.
But it was not to be. Soon after the militant’s arrest Rubia received a letter from LeT terrorists threatening revenge for disclosing details about them to the police and her family. “After I received the threat, my family decided to migrate from our village. Since then we have been living in Rajouri. The police have given me security cover but I still live in fear because of the threat from the militants,” Rubia said. Rubia’s family- two sisters, two brothers, apart from her parents- has been left with no sustained source of income. Rubia wants a peaceful life without any threat to her or her family. But still she says that sometimes she wakes up from her sleep when she dreams of the hideout filled with stench. October 2011
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Mashesh Bhatt echoes KPâ€™s stand
The Government was doing precious little to ensure that Kashmiri Pandits returned back to Kashmir with honour and dignity.
sentation of his maiden play - The Last Salute. The play is centered on ecently, the noted film maker the book, My Last Salute To PresiMahesh Bhatt was in Jammu dent Bush by Muntadhar-al Zaidi, the in connection with the pre- Iraqi journalist, who hurled a shoe at
President George Bush in Baghdad when he was on his farewell visit to Iraq. Zaidi wanted to express his anger at the un-warranted attack of the USA on Iraq. October 2011
Jammu Chronicle The play, staged in General Zorawar Singh Auditorium at Jammu University, drew huge rush despite the fact that the tickets were priced at whopping Rs 550 per ticket. While talking to lead actor of the play, Imran Zahid, who is an upcoming actor of substance, it came to fore that Muntadar al- Zaidi was not attached to any Jihadi or militant group in Iraq but was an ardent admirer of Gandhiji whose method of non-violence had influenced him and he wanted to avenge USA for its war that it had thrust on Iraq for no concrete reason. With this in mind Zaidi planned to hurl shoes on President Bush when he would visit Iraq. It was minutes before the occurrence that Zaidi handed over his ring that he treasured most to his friend and asked to keep it safe as he was unsure weather he would return alive or not. Soon after his arrest, after throwing the shoe on Bush, he was arrested and subjected to torture. He got three years sentence. The incident made him famous all over the Arab world. He was subsequently released early because of good behaviour. On his maiden India visit in connection with the play- The Last Salute- conceived by Mahesh Bhatt, Imran Zahid said that Zaidi straightaway drove to Raj Ghat and offered his choicest ring at the Samadhi of Bapu with tears rolling down his cheeks. That was one side of Mahesh Bhatt’s visit which generated much media attention in Jammu. That apart, on his insistence and desire he expressed interest to meet Kashmiri Pandits who are literally languishing in wilderness of exile for the past over two decades without any hope of return back to their home-
land –Kashmir. It was in this context that a delegation met the noted director in the hotel where he was staying with his team. It is pertinent to mention that Mahesh Bhatt has a Kashmiri connection. The Gujarati Bhatt’s are Brahmins and trace their origin to Kashmir where from they migrated to various parts of India as Pandits in Kashmir were subjected to persecution and torture by successive rulers. Secondly, his wife, Soni Razdan, a theatre and film personality is a Kashmiri Pandit and interestingly her classic film Saransh had Anupam Kher, again a Kashmiri, in the lead. It was his first film. Mahesh Bhatt is known for his views on human rights in Kashmir and elsewhere. He has open communication with separatists in Kashmir and has visited the Valley many a times. He is a regular panelist in debates on television and in one of such debates he confronted separatist Yaseen Malik head on regarding human rights violation of Kashmiri Pandits and their right to return to Kashmir. Not surprising for us, Yaseen Malik did not utter a single word in response to Mahesh Bhatt’s query.
It was in deference to his wish and desire that a group of Kashmiri Pandits led by a noted social activist and intellectual Dr. R.L Bhat met and apprised him about the problems of Kashmiri Pandits, both in social and political context. Virender Raina, Dr.Roshan Saraf, Autar Bhat and Pradeep Kaul were other members of the group. Mahesh Bhatt was conveyed in tacit terms that the separatist movement in Kashmir was anti India, anti democracy and anti minorities and its aim was to evict all religious minorities from Kashmir. The Government was doing precious little to ensure that Kashmiri Pandits returned back to Kashmir with honour and dignity. The delegation stressed upon him the urgent need to help in formulating a policy which would ensure that Pandits are settled in one place in Kashmir with attendant constitutional, cultural and economic safeguards. The members of the group also conveyed to him the lack of interest and political will on the part of the State Government to pass the Temple and Shrines Bill which been introduced in the State Assembly but has not been passed on one pretext October 2011
In absence of legislation, the religious places of Pandits in Kashmir will be erased for ever. The issue regarding Sharda pilgrimage to ancient shrine of Goddess Sharda in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir also came up for discussion.
or the other. It may be pointed here that the Temple and Shrines Bill, if passed, would safeguard the religious symbols of Pandits in Kashmir .The temples, shrines, holy springs and even cremation grounds have been encroached upon by land mafia with alleged tacit administrative support at various levels. In absence of legislation, the religious places of Pandits in Kashmir will be erased for ever. The issue re-
garding Sharda pilgrimage to ancient shrine of Goddess Sharda in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir also came up for discussion. He was apprised of the fact that although Pakistani Government explicitly said that they had no problem if Pandits visited the shrine, it was amazing that the Centre was doing nothing in this regard. The group members asked Mahesh Bhatt to use his clout and good offices to help generate awareness
about the plight of Pandits and impress upon the highest political leadership to take steps so that this miniscule minority are re-settled in Kashmir as per their wishes so that in future they feel safe and secure. Mahesh Bhatt promised to take up these issues with intellectuals and politicians as well as with the Centre so that the burning problems of survival, which the Pandits are confronted with, get solved.
Sharing agony of tremor victims
ow can I forget October 8, 2005 when a powerful force jolted me out of bed? Loud rumblings rattled throughout my home. When I looked up my ceiling fan started to dance away from its hinges. An earthquake, registering 7.6 on the Richter scale had struck Uri (near the Line of Control) and parts of Pak-occupied Kashmir. It was the holy month of Ramadan. And even as the earth was rippling under my feet I left my home and went into my garden where the trees shook in from their roots and I heard screaming all around me as people ran for their lives into the open fields. If you have never experienced a disaster of this magnitude it is difficult to fully appreciate the chaos, fear and suffering that accompanies it. Indeed, for an entire year after the earthquake struck it was as though I could still feel its tremors beneath my feet. Six years later, when I heard the news that an earthquake had hit Sikkim terror went through my body as I too easily remembered what I had experienced. I know the desperation the Sikkim people are feeling. I can hear their screams for help even as they lie on the ground utterly helpless. I feel their gut-wrenching pain as they mourn the death of their children, their brothers and sisters, their fathers and mothers. I know the smell of death that is permeating the air. At least 111 people were killed, 42 in India, five in Nepal and seven in Tibet, and over 300 were injured after an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale shook Sikkim on September 18. Strong tremors were also felt in parts of North and East India and parts of Bangladesh and Nepal, causing widespread panic. The epicenter of the quake was said to be just 64 kilometer North-West of Gangtok. Most of the deaths occurred in Sikkim, with reports of fatalities in and near Singtam in the East Sikkim district. Several buildings collapsed in Gangtok. Eleven were reported dead in Nepal, including three killed when a wall collapsed in the British Embassy in Kathmandu. Elsewhere, structural damage occurred in Bangladesh, Bhutan, and across Tibet; another seven fatalities were confirmed in the latter region. The earthquake that hit Sikkim was not as powerful as the one that struck Uri. But it is the unseen emoQazi IRshad
Jammu Chronicle Qazi IRshad
tional scars â€“ the fears that another doomsday quake might hit that are not so easily remedied. Tap, stream or spring water that hadnâ€™t undergone a process of chlorination or been boiled still caused acute diarrheal disease, which explained why 20 per cent of children under four
years of age still suffered from diarrheal disease. Yet the report also showed that in areas where medical camps were established and information regarding the need to drink boiled water and follow safer hygienic practices was communicated, the outbreak was
brought under control. Nonetheless, widespread contamination of drinking water sources still exists. The importance of getting proper relief in the initial days after the quake cannot be underestimated. Our immediate needs included shelter, food and heat because the re36
Jammu Chronicle gion where the earthquake struck is mountainous and winters are very harsh. We needed to re-establish infrastructure so relief efforts could get in to help the survivors. While religion and nationalism plays a role in our daily life, guns were put aside and everyone received help no matter what religion, ethnicity or nationalism the victims belonged. There was a worldwide effort to help the survivors and in Kashmir Indian Air Force, in particular, played an important role. Choppers were continuously distributing relief and those severely injured were taken to city hospitals for treatment. The dead â€“ whether they were Pakistani or Indian â€“ were buried in mass graves â€“ although in Uri people belonging to particular family were buried in one grave. I still re-
member a grave where 12 members of a family are buried. The Sikkim people, like us, will also need to learn a lot from their experience. We now know that places like Srinagar are vulnerable to earthquakes as they are situated in Seis-
mic Zone-V. We have come to realize that we cannot panic. There are many parts of the world like Japan where earthquakes occur frequently but loss of life and damage to property is small because people have learned to live with earthquakes.
Terror regime: Changing strategies Strict vigil on the borders, lacking support from the local population and depleting cadre of the Pakistani backed ultras have forced them to change the strategy of operations after they enter the Indian territory.
trict vigil on borders, dwindling support from the local population and depleting cadre back up from Pakistan, the insurgents in Jammu and Kashmir have
changed their strategy to infiltrate into the Indian Territory. During the past three years a large number of terrorists have been eliminated in the Jammu region. The police claim that some militant organizations, including Lashker-e-Toiba,
Jaish-e-Mohammad and Harkat-ulJehadi-Islami have even been completely wiped out in some districts of the State. This has caused a serious setback to the insurgents owing allegiance to different outfits and also to the October 2011
in focus Pakistan Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), responsible for aiding, abetting and training these militants and sending them into India to launch operations against the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. However, the depleting cadre of the terrorist organizations has forced their mentors in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) to change the strategy of the foot soldiers after they enter the Indian Territory. This includes bringing along packed food items of Pakistani companies, use of Global Positioning System (GPS), direction compass and also military maps of the areas in J&K. According to the strategic experts, terrorists are adopting this strategy mainly to avoid being noticed by the local population that has during the past some years stopped helping them. Packed food of Pakistani companies was recovered from different hideouts in use of the insurgents. The areas where the hideouts were busted in the recent past include far off places in Rajouri, Poonch, Ramban, Doda and Bhaderwah in the Jammu region. According to a defence spokesperson, S.N. Acharya, the new trend of the terrorists, carrying food packed in Pakistan, has come to light. “They bring the packed food of Pakistani companies along with them and cook it while confining themselves in their hideouts in dif-
Jammu Chronicle and utensils to the terrorists. These items (gas and utensils) remain in the hideouts for months even when no one is living there” said the intelligence sources. According to the intelligence sources, terrorists do not use the same hideout for more than a week. “They keep on shifting their hideferent forest areas close to the Line outs to avoid encounter with the security forces. In most of the hideof Control” he said. Earlier, the ultras of various orga- outs, cooking gas and utensils are nizations used to rely upon the local already available. The thing they population for food, water and vari- need the most is packed food which ous other necessities. However, after they carry with themselves” said the the army launched operation ‘Sadb- sources in army intelligence. S. N Acharya said that now whenhavna’ in J&K that has helped the local youth in getting employment, ever a hideout is busted “packed the local populace has weaned away food items are mostly recovered from ultras who have been exploit- from there”. The success in tracking down a ing them in the name of religion. In many cases, the locals used to large number of ultras during the inform the security forces about the recent past is being attributed to presence of militants when they vis- the geared up intelligence network ited their homes for food. In several of the army and also neutralization instances, they forced the people to of several guides who were instrupart with food and even raped their mental in leading the terrorists to women folk. The atrocities made their tasked destinations once they the locals to seek the assistance of infiltrated to this side of the border the security forces in apprehending or the Line of Control (LoC). Lack them. As the instances of capture of guides has rendered the foreign increased, the insurgents minimized terrorists as rudderless ships who their dependence on the locals. This themselves fall into the trap of the may be the reason for ultras to bring army at one or the other location. There are credible reports that the food items along with them and Pakistani army was providing traincook it in their hideouts. “Interestingly, the Over Ground ing to the ultras for using direction Workers (OGW) of these terror- compass, GPS and military maps in ist groups provided cooking gas Muzaffarabad, capital of PoK.
Diabetes’ Dr Jitendra Singh
Senior Diabetologist, Professor & Author
xperts generally claim that one does not have to die of diabetes mellitus. Yet a significant number of people are reported to be dying every year from diabetes related complications. The explanation for this paradox can be found in the widespread ignorance about the disease and failure to take advantage of several known facts about the treatment and control of diabetes. Another key to the paradox is the fact that perhaps half the people who have the disease are not aware of it. As early as in mid-1940’s, Elliot Joslin, long-time Medical Director of the Baker Clinic of Diabetes in Boston, was ready to declare: “One almost might say that a death from diabetes is no longer allowable.” Says Wilkerson, another international expert in diabetes: “Probably to a greater extent than heart disease or cancer, diabetes is amenable to definite methods of control.” The word diabetes is from Greek origin and originally meant “siphon”. A description of diabetes given in the first century A.D. was “melting of the flesh which flows away in urine”. Indeed, excessive flow of the urine is a common characteristic in uncontrolled diabetes.
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Early Detection It is important to be aware of the common early symptoms of diabetes mellitus in order to be able to suspect the disease in its initial stages. Suspicion of diabetes should arise in case of any of the following complaints: (I) Increased frequency of urination, excessive hunger and excessive thirst. (ii) Loss of body weight for unexplained reasons (iii) Recurrent infection of skin or urinary tract, or an infection anywhere in the body that refuses to heal despite adequate antibiotic treatment. (iv) A tuberculosis infection that does not show expected response to antitubercular treatment. (v) A wound that takes unduly long to heal. (vi) In case of middle aged ladies, repeated episodes of itching around the vagina. \However, in several cases, diabetes is detected accidentally when a person undergoes a pre-operative check up before any surgery or a routine periodic medical check-up. In case a person has any of the symptoms mentioned above, particularly in the presence of a positive family history of diabetes, he or she must report to a doctor. Relevant blood and urine tests are often sufficient to make a diagnosis. * Indicative picture
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a n d
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Diet Regulation Early detection of the symptoms can enable an individual to institute necessary corrections in dietary habits as well as lifestyle. Regulation of the diet is the keystone of the treatment in diabetes. A diabetic must learn to say â€œ No!â€? to the items that have no place in the diet. Basically, there is no one common diet for all diabetics. The aim is to remain well nourished while avoiding excess of carbohydrates and calories. Diets recommended in recent years are far more generous than in former times. Low calorie vegetables including for example, asparagus, lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, etc, are often allowed in liberal use. Added to this may be fresh fruit, cereals, a moderate amount of protein in the form of egg, fish, dairy products such as milk, a few slices of bread and ordinary seasonings. Heavy sweets and starches are to be avoided.
In kind, the diabetic diet may not differ so greatly from the normal diet. In quantity, however, it has to be watched carefully and a diabetic individual must learn to judge and weigh his food. Diet rich in fiber content retards the absorption of sugar indirectly helps in keeping the blood sugar low.
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Regular Exercise Exercise is as important as diet in the control of diabetes. Weight reduction is many times unsuccessful even with controlled diet simply because the person does not take adequate exercise. Exercise helps in proper utilisation of the various food stuffs including sugar by body tissues. The best exercise for any average person would be brisk walk every morning and evening. Drugs and medicines are the last resort for an average adult diabetic. They are to be started only when conscientiously followed diet control and exercise have failed.
Personal Habits Personal hygiene, particularly care of the feet, is very vital for a diabetes patient. Infections, gangrene etc. are common complications when a diabetic leaves his feet unclean and uncared. Smoking and alcohol are more harmful in case of diabetes than in the normal circumstances. Mental stress needs to be avoided because it can aggravate diabetes. A known diabetic should subject himself to regular follow up for periodic evaluation of the status of his disease. In addition, periodic check up of eyes, heart and the kidneys is advisable. In nutshell with the proper understanding of the disease, it is possible to lead an almost normal life with diabetes. October 2011
KPL was organised on the pattern of Indian Premier League in which a large number of teams from different districts of the Kashmir Valley participated. Gaurav Deep
t was a year of peace and sports in Kashmir, the valley that remained in mourning mood last year because of the widespread agitations which ultimately resulted in deaths of nearly 110 youths during the summer unrest. The question that whether there would be protests or peace in valley this year became clear in June when the slogan of the Kashmiri separatists ‘Khoon ka badla June mein’ did not yield any results. The youths re-
mained busy in sport events and musical shows instead. On the other hand a good tourist season was witnessed in the Valley this year, as a large number of tourists headed towards tourist resort Pahelgam among other places in the valley. The year saw a unique cricket tournament, Kashmir Premier League T-20, organized by the Army in collaboration with the State Government as a talent hunt for the Kashmiri youth interested in cricket. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah
kick started the tournament at Delhi Public School, in Srinagar. R. S Chib, Minister for Minister for Youth Services and Sports said that the aim of the tournament was to exploit the talent of youth of Kashmir in cricket. “It also provided an opportunity to the interested youth to expose their talent” he said. Chib said the State has ample sports potential and the need is to channelize it in right perspective, adding that it has also produced international footballer and martial October 2011
arts players. The KPL that started in July this year ended in August. General Officer in Command (GOC), 15 Corps General S A Hasnain, while referring to Kashmir Premier League (KPL), Chinar Cup, said it was initial step to explore the talent of cricketers of Kashmir which culminated successfully. KPL was organized on the pattern of Indian Premier League in which a large number of teams from different districts of the Kashmir Valley participated. The Army has launched yet another tournament in the down town Srinagar. Hasnain said organizing this cricket tournament is a step ahead to tap the potential of budding cricketers of the summer capital which will help in improving the standard
of cricket also. He termed 2011 as a â€œYear of peace and Sports buzzâ€?. The cricketers who performed well during KPL have been sponsored for four month advanced training in National Cricket Academy, Chennai. They are, Lone Nasir Muzaffar, Ubaid Amin and Malik Adnans. The another facet of changing Kashmir is that earlier it was the guns and bombs, then came an era of stone pelting and now the Kashmiri youth are expressing their resentment through music. Music has become a symbol of expression and means of protests and a large number of bands have mushroomed in the Valley who is manifesting their anger within the community through songs. Far from the return of the stone-
pelting mobs this year, ground zero was busy hosting musical shows. This summer sizzled with many music concerts being held at different locations in Srinagar. All the venues were teeming with listeners, mostly youngsters. The spring and summer seasons were good in Kashmir this year and the Valley kept buzzing with tourists. The Shikaras were booked in advance, not like last year when the Shikara and houseboat owners had to survive on few local tourists. The hope of Kashmir depends on a good tourist season and that is possible only in absence of stone throwing mobs. The residents of the Valley believe that the year 2012 will perhaps bring more tourists not only from other states but also from other countries. October 2011
Rock music in Indian films seems to be more about style than
ock music in Indian films seems to be more about style than substance, but the country’s musicians are happy nevertheless When Canadian rock band Nickelback sang, ‘We all just wanna be big rockstars, live in hilltop houses, drivin’ 15 cars, ‘ they pretty much spoke for every ambitious youngster that ever lived. Being a rockstar has always been about the attitude (first), the style (second), the fans (third) and everything else that follows. And it’s little surprise that Bollywood’s once again waking up to that very attitude, both musically and otherwise. The dictionary doesn’t define rockstar, perhaps because it cannot really be defined. But tinseltown at least seems to have gotten the first few notes right. Thousands of youngsters reaching out to a dreadlocked Ranbir Kapoor, who is galvanizing choruses
Ranbir Kapoor in Rockstar
Arjun Rampal and Farhan Akhtar in Rock On
Will the real ‘Rockstar’ of Bollywood please stand up? to a distorted guitar, is almost like Rock On boys, who are all set to ensuring a full show from the very bring back ‘Magik’ into our lives, to beginning. the makers of Manorama: Six Feet Under, who are now set to ‘Rock’ The music obviously follows. The Shaadi, rock is back in with a From Imtiaz’s Rockstar to the bang in Bollywood. October 2011
substance, but the country’s musicians are happy, nevertheless core. Obviously people in Bollywood have realised how much of a connect something like this has with the youth of the nation.” So we suddenly see musicians like Sampath, bands like Indian Ocean and voices like Mohit Chauhan reaching out to a hardcore mass audience and being accepted like never before. Adds Amit Kilam of Indian Ocean, which gave music to Black Friday and Peepli Live, “There was time in the ‘80s and ‘90s where we’d put on the television and strain to listen to someone other than the a few popular voices. Today every song has a new, fresh sound. Stories are written for this kind of music. So as the Bollywood’s story-telling undergoes a change, it’s music will too.”
Imran Khan in Delhi Belly
On one hand there’s D K Bose that justifies an angered youngster’s reasons to hurl abuses, while on the other there’s Sadda Haq that speaks for the rights of the country’s youth. What’s common within both the songs is that it gives the young guns
a voice. A voice they have always been looking for and which rock music has always provided for. Says composer Ram Sampath, “Rock is a way of life and it has always been about having something to say to the world. It is high on energy and music that is honest to its
Is it really rock? Apparently, a famous producer once asked the band Indian Ocean if they could change the lyrics of their cult number Bandeh to suit the film. Not surprisingly, they never met him again. Though many musicians strive to bring to the mainstream, sounds that were until now confined within a college concert or a music festival, others ask if rock music in Bollywood is real rock? Says Venky from death metal band Bhayanak Maut (that recently composed a song for Anurag Kashyap’s Shaitan), “I don’t think Bollywood filmmakers are being true to what they really want. This seems like a phase, but their core lies in commercial music which can never change.” Adds Sampath, who spearheaded the band Colourblind for over two October 2011
entertainment decades before finally making the foray into Bollywood, “Rock music is not new in Hindi films. Even R D Burman composed rock. But today people think having a guitar and screaming on stage makes you a rockstar. Bollywood tends to adapt to rock very superficially. But it is at least happening.” For someone like A R Rahman, his music transcends beyond the genre. But for independent musicians who have defined the rock scene, it’s a trend that works in their favour. Two-way street Says Kilam, “When we did a Peepli Live, many people suddenly got curious about our music. They started buying our albums. Rock music has always been in the periphery of Indian music, but never the centrestage. So if it’s taking centrestage through such a popular medium, why not.” Adds Sampath, who zeroed in on his second film Rock the Shaadi after 12 different offers, “Even today I go out there and perform live. Obviously, the response is a lot more enthused because there is a DK Bose to relate to. But I will always make music independently.” So, while Bollywood toys with its new obsession, all we can say is let the music play. After all, rockstars are not made everyday!
Katrina Kaif in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan
What happens to cows during an earthquake? They give milk shakes! Why did the jelly wobble? Because it saw the milk shake!
What did the ground say to the earthquake? You crack me up!
Funny Facts 1)
There are no pain receptors in the brain, so the brain can feel no pain.
The human brain is the fattest organ in the body and may consists of at least 60% fat.
Neurons develop at the rate of 250,000 neurons per minute during early pregnancy.
Humans continue to make new neurons throughout life in response to mental activity.
Alcohol interferes with brain processes by weakening connections between neurons.
Altitude makes the brain see strange visions â€“
Reading aloud and talking often to a young child promotes brain development.
Information travels at different speeds within different types of neurons. Not all neurons are the same. There are a few different types within the body and transmission along these different kinds can be as slow as 0.5 meters/sec or as fast as 120 meters/sec.
The capacity for such emotions as joy, happiness, fear, and shyness are already developed at birth. The specific type of nurturing a child receives shapes how these emotions are developed.
10) The left side of your brain (left hemisphere) controls the right side of your body; and, the right side of your brain (right hemisphere) controls the left side of your body. 11) Children who learn two languages before the age of five alters the brain structure and adults have a much denser gray matter. 12) Information can be processed as slowly as 0.5 meters/sec or as fast as 120 meters/sec (about 268 miles/hr). 13) While awake, your brain generates between 10 and 23 watts of powerâ€“or enough energy to power a light bulb. 14) The old adage of humans only using 10% of their brain is not true. Every part of the brain has a known function. 15) A study of one million students in New York showed that students who ate lunches that did not include artificial flavors, preservatives, and dyes did 14% better on IQ tests than students who ate lunches with these additives.
homework? Because his teacher said it was a piece of cake! What bow can't be tied? A rainbow!
he Red Panda, Ailurus fulgens ("shining cat," from a Latinized form of the Greek, ailouros, "cat," and the participial form of the Latin fulgere, "to shine") is a mostly herbivorous mammal, slightly larger than a domestic cat (55 cm long).
he White-faced Saki (Pithecia pithecia), also known as the Guianan Saki and the Golden-faced Saki, is a species of saki monkey, a type of New World monkey, found in Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela. This monkey mostly feed on fruits, but also nuts, seeds, and insects.
he White-faced Saki (Pithecia pithecia), also known as the Guianan Saki and the Golden-faced Saki, is a species of saki monkey, a type of New World monkey, found in Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela. This monkey mostly feed on fruits, but also nuts, seeds, and insects.
arsiers are prosimian primates of the genus Tarsius, a monotypic genus in the family Tarsiidae, which is itself the lone extant family within the infraorder Tarsiiformes. Their feet have extremely elongated tarsus bones, which is how they got their name.
he Star-nosed Mole (Condylura cristata) is a small North American mole found in eastern Canada and the north-eastern United States. It is the only member of the tribe Condylurini and the genus Condylura.
many It turns a host into a ghost What has 4 eyes but no face? Mississippi! What did the spider do on the computer? Made a web-
Why did the elephant eat the candle? He wanted a light snack! Why is the letter "G" scary? Too
site! What exam do young witches have to pass? A spell-ing test! Why did the boy eat his